Three previously introduced parasitoids (Acerophagus papayae Noyes and Schauff, Anagyrus loecki Noyes and Menezes, and Pseudleptomastix mexicana Noyes and Schauff [Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae]) of the mealybug Paracoccus marginatus Williams and Granara de Willink (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) were studied for their host instar susceptibility and sex ratio, host instar selection, and interspecific competition in the laboratory. All three parasitoids were able to develop in the second instars, third-instar females, and adult females of P. marginatus. No progeny emerged from first-instar mealybugs. The proportion of female emergence was increased with increasing host size. Parasitoids selected their host instars for oviposition when they had a choice. Between second- and third-instar hosts, A. papayae and P. mexicana had significantly higher parasitism in second-instar mealybugs, whereas A. loecki had higher parasitism in the third-instar mealybugs. When competed with either one or two parasitoid species, A. papayae was significantly more successful in second-instar hosts and A. loecki was significantly more successful in third-instar mealybugs. P. mexicana was significantly less competitive when with A. papayae in both second and third instars, with A. loecki in third instars and with both A. papayae and A. loecki in second and third instars. Overall, A. papayae provided a better control of the host, when present singly or with the other two parasitoids. This information is important in evaluating the efficiency of A. papayae, A. loecki, and P. mexicana and understanding the outcome of their recovery and establishment in field studies conducted in Florida.
Kaushalya G. Amarasekare, Catharine M. Mannion, Nancy D. Epsky, Host Instar Susceptibility and Selection and Interspecific Competition of Three Introduced Parasitoids of the Mealybug Paracoccus marginatus (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), Environmental Entomology, Volume 39, Issue 5, 1 October 2010, Pages 1506–1512, https://doi.org/10.1603/EN09376